If you follow our social media, you may have seen our recent “viral” video of… let’s just call it a bit of a ~situation~ in the brewery. (If you haven’t seen it yet, click here for a good laugh.) Since it garnered a lot of attention, we thought it might be nice for our dedicated newsletter followers to get the real story behind what went on.
After hooking up a pump to recirculate a beer during a dry hop, our head brewer and over 20 year veteran of the brewing industry, Doug, had noticed a small leak coming from a clamp on the outside of one of our sixty barrel tanks. (A barrel of beer is 31 gallons, so it’s a tank full of over 1,800 gallons of beer.) Upon noticing the leak, Doug went to tighten the clamp… just a little bit. Unfortunately, the clamp was actually on the tank at a slight angle, which hadn’t been an issue until hooking up the recirculation pump. So when Doug went to tighten it down, the angle on the clamp had met its match and slipped off of its gasket.
From there it all happened pretty fast. Our quick thinking Dougee and Assistant Brewer James were able to run through the protocol for a situation just as this in under two minutes. So with an open port on the side of the tank and 1800 gallons of beer pushing down, what’s the procedure? Great question. The trick is to get an open valve attached to the tank while cold, carbonated beer is pouring out at an astonishing rate - and then once you get the valve secured, you can close it to prevent any more loss. It seems like it should be relatively simple, but even safety glasses and gloves can’t hold back the sticky mess and the cold, carbonated beer from spraying everywhere. James and Doug, despite all odds of beer in their eyes and bitter cold fingers, were able to get the valve secured and get it closed in an astonishing amount of time. When it was all said and done, we lost about 10 barrels of beer, or about 310 gallons, which is certainly no small loss, but most importantly our team was all safe and unharmed in the incident.
As for me, filming from above - from my office perch, I heard a loud ~explicative~ followed shortly by a rushing liquid, and I knew there was trouble on the brewery floor. Running out of the office, my first question was “DOUG, CAN I DO ANYTHING TO HELP?” but since James was already on it, there was nothing I could really do except watch… so that’s when the camera came out. Those two minutes certainly seemed like a lifetime for all of us, but afterwards, Doug and James were drenched and sticky, yet smiling at their quick work solving this problem. After watching themselves and getting a good laugh, they agreed resoundingly that I should post it to our social media. (And maybe reach out to Flex Tape for a future sponsorship?)
Remember, friends, often Instagram feeds show a perfection that skews the truth - so it takes a concerted effort to remind ourselves that they’re not all good days. Thank goodness we have beer. ;).